Here are some of the resources I find useful in developing my own practices for a non-religious but spiritual life. I will keep adding from time to time, and please feel free to email me with anything you think would be good to add.
The On Being project has a great podcast I like to listen to on my walks, hosted by Krista Tippett and interviewing a wonderful array of thinkers, musicians, artists and activists about their spiritual lives.
For poetry which explores spirituality and expresses the inexpressible, I turn to the following:
- Rumi: a Persian poet who cuts to the heart of the matter every time
- Mary Oliver: Her poetry is emobided prayer without need of a deity
- John O’Donohue: Celtic spirituality of the invisible world
- Rainer Maria Rilke: Speaking from the ashes of Europe between world wars, and saying, ‘Yes.’
- William Wordsworth: His lines above Tintern Abbey are still sublime.
The sacred texts archive is a useful resource for anyone interested in reading the world’s largest recorded religions’ key works.
Huston Smith’s book, ‘The World’s Religions,’ is the best book I have come across explaining the world’s largest recorded religions. Smith describes religions with a delight, curiosity and empathy which is communicated through intellectual rigour and poetic phrasing.
Some of my other favourite books about spirituality include:
- Songspirals – Sharing Women’s Wisdom of Country Through Songlines (by the Gay-wu Group of Women. I love this book. It gives a glimpse into the knowledge systems of the world’s oldest surviving, living and evolving culture)
- God is a Verb – Kabbalah and the Practice of Mystical Judaism (Rabbi David Cooper can get a bit esoteric but I love the insight this book offered me into the co-creative concept of Kabbalah)
- The Upanishads (Eknath Easwaran’s edition has succinct and useful introductions)
- The Hindus – An Alternative History (Wendy Doniger explains this history colourfully and I learned a lot about the role of horses in Vedic rituals, something I had no idea about before)
- A History of God (I will read anything Karen Armstrong writes. Her memoirs are also a great read about her journey into the convent, and out again. This book looks at the Abrahamic religions and gave me new ways of understanding my own Catholic upbringing)
- A New New Testament (edited by Hal Taussig. For post-Christians, this is fascinating – offers carefully curated texts from the Nag Hammadi scrolls which date back to the early Christian era. ‘The Thunder: Perfect Mind’ gospel blew me away. So COOL.)
The New Seminary
The New Seminary is where I did my Masters of Theology and was ordained as an interfaith minister. It is the world’s oldest interfaith seminary, originally born out of the African American civil rights movement and refusal to hear the Bible used to justify slavery. Nowadays the Seminary attracts a dozen or so students from around the world interested, as I was, in developing a way of being of spiritual service to the non-religious. The New Seminary also has an excellent reading list which they share on their website.